Autotune The News Becomes A Billboard Hit

from the who-gets-publishing-rights? dept

Hopefully by now, you've come across the "Autotune the News" phenomenon, where various news clips are turned into sometimes brilliant music numbers thanks to the magic of autotune and some very creative individuals. However, it seems that they're now taking it to the next level. Their incredibly popular "Bed Intruder" song taking the statements of Antoine Dodson on a newscast about his sister getting raped, hasn't just gone "viral," but it's actually hit the Billboard Hot 100 and is selling really well on iTunes:
Apparently some of the proceeds from the song are going to the Dodson family, as well as the makers of Autotune the News -- which perhaps answers some of the questions I had about who gets the songwriting "credit" and copyrights in such situations. I wonder if anyone used in a clip (or a news organization) would ever sue for infringement.

In the meantime, however, it looks like the "Gregory Brothers," the team behind Autotune the News, have figured out plenty of ways to turn their success into something more. They're already working on a pilot for Comedy Central, among other projects...

From a cultural perspective, though, this whole story again shows how culture is changing in very interesting and powerful ways. When we talk about things like "remixing" and "mashups," we tend to hear from a chorus of folks who brush off such things as mere copying and not worthy of being considered art in itself. But there's a lot more to it than that. What makes culture culture is the shared experiences around that work. This song is not only musically interesting, but also calls attention to a horrible incident that happened as well. And, again, some will brush it off as being meaningless, but the power with which it has interested so many people is not something that should be ignored.

Filed Under: autotune, autotune the news, culture, remix

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  1. icon
    interval (profile), 20 Aug 2010 @ 1:19pm


    @Joe: " and the end of originality."

    So all music up to the 90's was stunningly original??? I hate to burst your bubble and your brilliant friend's bubble at the same time but that's hardly the case. I'll give you two examples, the first one I've raised here before. Classic Blues artist Elmore James is often credited with a standard titled "Dust My Broom", however the same song was recorded by Robert Johnson in the late 30's, and a different version of the title can be heard in the recordings of Blind Lemon Jefferson from the 20's. A contemporary of both Johnson and James, Son House, was heard to describe the song as being a cotton worker's spiritual from late 1880's. And so on. Oh, and tell me Elvis created his classics out of thin air. I'm not sure that he is in fact the author of any of his early work. And I KNOW he heard one or two of Johnson's shellacs.

    Do a wikipedia search on "Greensleeves", you may be amazed to see how far back that song goes.

    The point is, until this "Mine, mine, all mine" mentality art used to grow from the soil of earlier art. Illustrated by the number of cases we see of content industry producers copy writing as original content that they just stole from others. Good artists create, great ones steal, isn't that Picasso said?

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